Readers’ wildlife photos

April 9, 2020 • 7:45 am

Today’s contribution is from regular Joe Dickinson, who lives in Santa Cruz, California (a lovely town!). His notes and IDs are indented:

Here is a set of photos from my recent morning walks with my dog, always maintaining social distance when encountering other walkers (well, I do even if my dog doesn’t).  Most are by Aptos Creek, a few miles down the coast from Santa Cruz and about a mile from my house.  I’ve fleshed out the set with some flowers from my yard.

This is not my best photo of a great egret (Ardea alba), but I like the gold background (reflected sunrise).

This preening black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) is nicely posed in a way that shows off the white plume and red eye.

I don’t often see Canada geese (Branta canadensis) here, but if you see one you are almost certain to see a pair.


I see (or hear) belted kingfishers (Megaceryle alcyon) by the creek fairly regularly, but they are devilishly hard to photograph as they seem alarmed by a camera pointing in their direction. Do they see it as a giant eye? This one has been there regularly the last few days and is less camera shy than most.  I like the first composition better, but the second shot is sharper (better light and faster lens).

I just discovered this Brewer’s blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) nest adjacent to another place in neighboring Capitola where a walk once or twice a week.  I hope to be able to follow progress through to fledging if the nest is a success.

Here are a couple of flowers on orchid plants that a friend gave us a few years ago and that my wife carefully tends.  The front platform reminds me of a runway with guide lights.

Finally, a flower on a tree that I can’t identify, growing by our front gate.  I like the blue sky background and translucent leaf.


8 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Beautiful photos – so clear, balanced and sharply focused that they could be professionally done. The purple flower with translucent leaves and blue background make a wonderful finale. Thanks for a lovely morning wake up.

    1. It’s my experience that I locate kingfishers more often by sound than by sight. When they fly from perch to perch they emit a continuous trill that I hear as “chrrrrrrr…”. I try to track the sound until it stops, then look in that area for the perched bird.

  2. Interesting – it looks like the Brewer’s blackbird is nesting in a a karo tree – Pittosporum crassifolium – an NZ endemic.

  3. I was about to write that the flower in the last picture looked like a Princess Flower, a flower that we used to have in our garden just over the hill in San Jose, but a quick check shows that that’s just another name for “Glory Bush” (Tibouchina urvilleana.)

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